The Blue Tigers will also take on Hong Kong on the road to China 2023.

The draw for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers third round was held in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. India were already allocated as the hosts of Group D, with the games to be held in Kolkata in June.

The Blue Tigers are in a relatively comfortable group. They will face teams who are all well behind them in the FIFA Rankings. India are in Group D, which also comprises of Afghanistan, Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Out of these sides, Afghanistan are the side which the Blue Tigers had met most recently back in June 2021. They played out a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier last year. The Blue Tigers have only lost once to the Afghanistan national team in history. They have won six out of their 10 meetings so far.

India have faced Hong Kong 15 times in their history, winning seven out of those games and losing four. The last time these two teams met was in an international friendly game back in 2010, when the Blue Tigers went down to a 0-1 loss at home. As a matter of fact, India had last defeated Hong Kong back in 1993, in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier.

Cambodia are the side in the group against whom India have squared off the least number of times in their history. The Blue Tigers have faced them only four times, but have won three out of those four games. The last time these two sides met was back in 2017, when Stephen Constantine’s men were able to snatch a 3-2 win after a thrilling friendly game.

The AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers games will take place from June 8 onwards at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. As per the AFC norms, each team will face-off against the other once in a round-robin format.

The other groups

Here are the groups for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers final round

Some exciting groups have been setup apart from that of India in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers final round. In Group A, hosts Kuwait face a challenging task as they will take on Asian heavyweights Jordan, Indonesia, and Nepal.

In Group C, hosts and World No. 85 Uzbekistan seem to have a comfortable chance to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2023. They will pair up in a group with Thailand, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka – with home advantage likely to help Uzbekistan reign supreme in their group.

Hosts Malaysia face a stern challenge in AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers Group E, as they are in the same group as Bahrain. Turkmenistan and Bangladesh are the two other two teams in the group. This means it should be a tight battle for the top two spots.

After impressing at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the Kyrgyz Republic have been given a strong chance to qualify for the 2023 edition. They’ve been put in a group alongside Tajikistan, Myanmar, and Singapore – all well behind them in the FIFA Rankings ladder.

In Group B, hosts Mongolia face a huge challenge. They are in the same group as Palestine, Yemen and the Philippines, all well ahead of them in the rankings.

Each group winner will attain automatic qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Moreover, five of the best runners-up in the six groups will also be able to qualify for the tournament.

Fixtures:

June 8: India vs Cambodia

June 11: Afghanistan vs India

June 14: India vs Hong Kong

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